Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada-headquartered High Liner Foods has announced that Chairman Henry Demone intends to retire from the board of directors following the conclusion of its annual general meeting on May 14. Robert Pace, who recently chaired the board’s audit committee and has been a director at High Liner since 1998, will assume his position.
“On behalf of High Liner and the board, I’d like to thank Henry for his decades of service, leadership and vision,” said David Hennigar, vice chairman. “Henry is a true pioneer of our industry. His contributions over the last 35 years are innumerable. We have seen High Liner grow, reinvent itself, and become North America’s largest marketer of frozen, value-added seafood products. It has been a pleasure working with Henry and we all wish him happiness and good health in his retirement.”
“It’s been an honor to serve in various capacities at High Liner over the years,” said Demone. “This is truly a special company, with humble roots, great people, and a bright future. High Liner has evolved, grown and faced its share of challenges as the industry went through good times and bad. Throughout, I’m proud of the way that it has persevered, maintaining its customer-focused and innovative drive that has stood at the center of everything we’ve done since we started almost 120 years ago. While it’s difficult to say goodbye, I know that High Liner is well positioned to return to profitable organic growth under the first-class leadership of our chief executive officer, Rod Hepponstall.”
Incoming Chairman Pace is president and chief executive officer of The Pace Group Limited, a private holding company, and chairman of Maritime Broadcasting System, which owns and operates 23 radio stations. He is also chairman of the board of Canadian National Railway Company and a director of several private firms.
Additional Board Updates
Following Demone’s retirement, his board seat will not be replaced and the number of seats will be reduced to 10 for 2019. The company believes that this is an appropriate board size and is well aligned with the now-restructured and streamlined High Liner Foods.
In recognition of ongoing headwinds facing the company, and in keeping with the strategic focus of the organization as exemplified by its critical initiatives, the board has made the decision to lower costs by lowering its director’s compensation. Following the annual general meeting, the annual cash retainer for non-executive directors in 2019 will be reduced by $35,000.
Additionally, Vice Chairman Hennigar will be stepping down from that role on May 14, but will remain as a director on the board. As the incoming chairman is independent, there is no longer a need for the position of vice chairman, according to a statement issued by the company on March 29.
For the 52-week period ending on December 29, 2018, High Liner Foods’ sales decreased by $5.3 million to $1,048.5 million. Gross profit, however, increased by $2.1 million to $188.2 million. Adjusted EBITDA decreased by $3.6 million to $62.5 million compared to $66.1 million, and net income decreased by $14.9 million to $16.8 million.
In addition to the High Liner brand, the company’s portfolio of retail and foodservice labels includes Fisher Boy, American Pride, Mirabel, Sea Cuisine, C. Wirthy & Co., FPI and Icelandic Seafood. It operates production plants in Nova Scotia as well as New Hampshire and Virginia in the USA.